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The Effect of Social Security, Health, Demography and Technology on Retirement
Código: WPE – 274
Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreiray
Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos
This article studies the determinants of the labor force participation of elderly American males and investigates the factors that may account for the changes in retirement between 1950 and 2000. We develop a life-cycle general equilibrium model
with endogenous retirement that embeds Social Security legislation and Medicare. Individuals are ex ante heterogeneous with respect to their preferences for leisure and face uncertainty about labor productivity, health status and out-of-pocket medical expenses. The model is calibrated to the U.S. economy in 2000 and is able to reproduce very closely the retirement behavior of the American population. It reproduces the peaks in the distribution of Social Security applications at ages 62 and 65 and the observed facts that low earners and unhealthy individuals retire earlier. It also matches very closely the increase in retirement from 1950 to 2000. Changes in Social Security policy – which became much more generous – and the introduction of Medicare account
for most of the expansion of retirement. In contrast, the isolated impact of the increase in longevity was a delaying of retirement.